Post-operative care is crucial to proper healing. Our team at Ocean Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery will provide you with detailed post-operative instructions following your procedure. Please follow these guidelines as closely as possible, as it will minimize unnecessary pain and complications such as infection and swelling. We encourage you to call our office in Santa Barbara, California, if you have any questions or if you need assistance.


  • Upon returning home, we recommend that you take a mild pain reliever right away, and that you take it regularly (every 6-8 hours) with food
  • Take any prescribed medications as directed
  • Place ice on your face for the first 24 hours to reduce swelling
  • Use moist heat, and massage, and stretch your jaw to manage pain and swelling after the second day. Continue for 2-7 days
  • Eat with your medications! This will help you avoid nausea.
  • Drink at least 8 large glasses of water after your surgery to flush the anesthesia out of your body.

After Surgery

  • Keep gauze in place over the surgical site for half an hour. After 30 minutes, remove and discard it. Replace gauze as needed.
  • Do not vigorously rinse your mouth or touch the wound area.
  • Take pain medications as soon as you begin to feel discomfort.
  • Restrict your activities on the day of your procedure. Resume normal activities when you feel comfortable doing so.
  • Use ice packs for the first 24 hours.


Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is common. You can control excessive bleeding by first rinsing or wiping old clots from your mouth and biting down gently on a gauze pad for 30 minutes. You may also bite on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. Minimize bleeding by sitting upright, and avoiding exercise, or becoming excited. Contact our office if bleeding does not subside.


Swelling is normal following a procedure. It will become apparent the day following surgery, and will reach its maximum 2-3 days after your procedure. You can minimize swelling by placing ice packs to the sides of your face where the surgery was performed. Do this for 24 hours following your procedure. 36 hours after your surgery, you may begin applying moist heat to the sides of your face, massaging your cheeks and jaw, and stretching your jaw.


Use over-the-counter pain relievers for moderate pain (Tylenol, Aleve, Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, etc.). Please do not take two medications at the same time, and follow all instructions for dosage frequency.

For severe pain, use prescribed medications as directed. Do not take any medications to which you are allergic, or that you have been instructed not to take.

Pain and swelling should subside more and more each day following your procedure.


Maintain a soft diet. If you have received IV sedation or general anesthesia, only consume liquids initially. Drink from a glass, and avoid using straws. You may eat anything soft as long as you chew on the side of your mouth opposite the surgical site. Our team will provide diet recommendations for you. Make sure to drink at least 5-6 glasses of liquid daily.

Keep Your Mouth Clean

Do not rinse until the day following surgery. After surgery you should rinse 5-6 times a day with a teaspoon of salt mixed into a cup of warm water.


You may experience discoloration following swelling. This is normal, and will likely occur 2-3 days after your procedure. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up recovery and resolve this problem.


Use antibiotics as directed. If you develop a rash or other unfavorable reaction, stop using the antibiotic and call our office immediately.

Nausea and Vomiting

If you experience nausea and vomiting following your procedure, do not eat or drink anything for at least an hour, including prescribed medications. You may then sip on carbonated water, soda, tea, or ginger ale. Sip slowly over a 15-minute period. When nausea subsides, you may begin eating, drinking, and taking prescribed medications.


Sutures are placed in the areas of surgery to help healing and minimize post-op bleeding. Sometimes they become dislodged. If this occurs, simply remove the suture and discard it. If it does not dissolve on its own we will remove it.

Other Complications

  • Numbness is normal and temporary, and will subside. Remember that if your lip or tongue is numb you could bite it and not feel the sensation, so pay close attention when chewing.
  • Slight elevation of temperature after your procedure is normal. If a high temperature persists, please call our office.
  • You may feel a hard projection in your mouth. These are the bony walls which supported your tooth. They usually smooth out on their own, but if needed can be removed by our Dr. David McAninch and Dr. Robert Kiken.
  • Keep your lips moist with Vaseline or lip balm to prevent them from drying out and cracking.
  • You may experience a sore throat or pain when swallowing. This should subside in 2-3 days.
  • You may experience stiffness of your jaw muscles. This is normal, and will be resolved in time. You can speed up the process with moist heat, massage, and stretching of the jaw.

If you have any questions about post-operative care or you would like to schedule an appointment with our oral surgeons in Santa Barbara, California, please call Ocean Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery today.